Thursday, April 28, 2011

Unsightly Armpits

I'm off to Women's Conference at BYU lately. Thus the no posts. I had vowed quite solemnly that I would never attend Women's Conference. Just goes to show that we often eat our words. When I was a student at BYU I despised Women's Conference. Hoards of women EVERYWHERE! I was even late to class a few times because I couldn't get through the throngs. And here I am, excited for my first experience as an attendee. It is my personal mission to make sure that I make at least one student late for at least one class.

Anyway, since I'm gone today I thought I'd send you on over to Voice In Recovery where I have written a love letter that you will want to be sure to catch.


 Oh. . . And because it's the weekend, and because I got a kick out of this video, I hope you enjoy it as well. I think anyone with armpits can appreciate this:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The fears of a formerly skinny gal

Fear is a funny thing. The emotion of fear is so dynamic. Some people avoid being scared whenever possible (yes, I fit in this category; no scary movies for me please). Some people thrive on it. Some people never confront their fears. Some do (yes I do on occasion; I've been skydiving twice and it was amazing).

When I hear the word fear I think of horrible scenarios: man hiding under my car grabs my ankle in a dark parking lot, attack by wild beasts of some sort, motherhood :). Maybe I'm a bit dramatic, but I would imagine that there are others out there who have these same horrible thoughts when they think of the word fear.

But maybe we are over thinking this. Because I am beginning to believe that we all deal with fear to some degree every. single. day. And for those of us who deal with body image issues I think those fears can sometimes be crippling (and likely we aren't even aware of them).

Here's what got me thinking about this: I have heard women talk about how they had tried everything and simply couldn't lose weight. Then they realized that they were actually terrified of losing weight. They didn't know who they would be without the padding. They were afraid of losing friends. They were afraid of the attention that may come (both positive and negative) if they were to lose the weight. They had no idea these fears were there. But once they discovered the fear, and let go by accepting their body as it was, accepting that change would happen and they could love that person too the weight just started to come off.

When I first heard about this idea I thought it was a bit absurd. Who is scared to lose weight? But I've been doing some soul searching and guess what I found? Fear.

I believe that giving up dieting and becoming an intuitive eater takes a great deal of courage. Because it certainly can be scary. There is a lot of unknown. For a person who has always had rules, giving up the safety of rules can be terrifying. And learning to love your body just as it is can be intimidating.

But here is something else I've found in my own life: Fear of the setpoint. In order to be an intuitive eater you need to accept that every body has a weight and shape that is most comfortable and healthy for that body to function. That weight is your body's setpoint. And I'm okay with the concept.

My fear is that my setpoint is high.

Then it hit me: As a formerly skinny girl I have been holding on to this fear that my setpoint isn't as skinny as I used to be (and after having a baby it likely isn't). And I've been afraid to accept that. I've been afraid to give in to being an intuitive eater completely because I'm afraid I will, in fact, stay the size I am.

Wait! That completely undermines the whole journey here at LITM. Isn't the purpose to learn self love and acceptance?

Yes. That is the point. And yes this fear undermines the journey. But you see, up until a few days ago I had no idea this fear existed. I had no idea that deep down I was harboring this belief that intuitive eating needed to help me get thin. Because there are people who have indeed lost weight when they became an intuitive eater. But there are those who didn't either and that fear has been holding me back. The difference between me and those who live intuitive eating? They truly gave in to intuitive eating. They learned love where they were. And they found the best place for the best health for their bodies. And they feel great.

I believe that my heart has been in the right spot, but there are still barriers yet to be discovered and overcome. And guess what, dear readers, if you are embarking on this journey as well you will have your own road to walk with your barriers to tear down. And that's okay. This is a process after all.

No decent story about a journey has ever been written where the hero/heroine reached the final destination without a few hiccups. The hiccups and the unexpected are what make the story so good. So welcome to your journey. It may get bumpy.

*Image credit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The price of gas isn't worth the price of friendship

Last night as we were drifting off to sleep I asked my husband what I should blog about today. Speaking of which, isn't "blog" a funny word? It's the "g." The letter "g" has this uncanny ability to make words funny: frog, goofy, garage, gamble, and here's a doozy, giggle.


Anyway, I asked the hubby about a subject. He said I should write about the price of gas. I told him that if I was going to write about something in the popular media it would be about the Royal Wedding. Because well really, do I need a "because?" Then I asked him if he had heard anything recently about what is going on in Japan (you know, while we were on the subject of popular media). Neither of us had heard much. You see, we have all moved on.

It's kind of incredible how short our attention span is. I get it. I'm there too. We all have really busy lives to live. That's why we have things like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. That way we can update our status and let the people we love in on our lives. Then if we find time we can check up on our loved ones as well. Who has time for a whole phone conversation (I'm horrible at phone conversations, I have a phobia of the phone) let alone a lunch date with friends?

I have family that lives out here close to us. I think the last time I saw any of them was the first week in January. I'm so bad at keeping in touch with people. Even the people I love.

My cousin Jared, sister Sera, Me, and my husband Ammon at my brother, Nick's, football game.

But this very short conversation with my husband got me thinking. The goal of this blog is to help us all create happy, healthy lives. And one subject I've never explored is the importance of making time for meaningful relationships.

So as a society we have a short attention span because we are B.U.S.Y. We have a million things that must get done today. Time is ticking. And I am including myself in this category. Time is a scarce commodity.

I get that. I really do. But my favorite memories (the ones in which I am the happiest) are when I was taking time to connect with someone. Those times when I went to lunch with a high school or college friend, or when my sister and I sat in my living room and reminisced about growing up, going on hikes with my family, having a wrestling match with my toddler (even when the laundry, dishes, and vacuuming needed some attention) are the happiest times in my life.

I love the sense of accomplishment when I cross something off my "to-do" list. And things do, indeed, need to get done. But perhaps we should slow down a little and take time to be a friend and a family member before the opportunities pass us by. The dishes will wait, I promise.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Bunny Loves. . . Granola

It's been a long time since I've shared a recipe on here. In fact, I bet my fellow Whole Living Community members are wondering if I even know what whole foods are:) I thought perhaps now would be a good time to share. Maybe some of this tasty stuff could find it's way into an Easter basket or two. It tastes as good or better than most candy I've tried. And it's so super easy.

And while we are sharing wonderful Easter goodie ideas I thought I'd share a video as well. This Easter we can all rejoice and be thankful (as with every Easter) that the Lord has risen.

Peanut Butter Granola

5 cups Six Grain Cereal
1 cup sugar free peanut butter
1 cup Honey or Agave
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 pkg sugar free, organic chocolate chips (or about 2 to 3 cups depending on preference)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. Mix the cereal, peanut butter, honey, and olive oil in a large bow. 
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil.
  4. Spread cereal mixture evenly on the cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Place back in a bowl and allow to cool.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips (if desired, it tastes awesome without them too).
  8. Store in Ziploc bag or airtight container.
Have a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Perfection, oh what a slippery slope

[The body is] a marvelous machine. . . a chemical laboratory, a power-house. Every movement, voluntary or involuntary, full of secrets and marvels!
~Theodor Herzl

The only energy left in this household of mine is being used to throw or control a fit. We are tired and headachy. And sore.

I guess you could say we (I) fell off the wagon. And I've been feeling guilty about it. What wagon? The listening to my body and giving it what it needs wagon. But I've been ashamed to admit it. I mean, I write a blog about taking care of that body. How can someone who writes a blog like that fall off that wagon?

But then again. . . I write this blog about my struggle to learn to love my body right? About the struggle to learn to take proper care of it. So isn't this a perfect example?

I still fight this fear that I simply can't be human. My drive for perfection has not really gone away. To a certain extent I think that's okay, but it can also be damaging. If I preach intuitive eating, then I feel I must always be an intuitive eater. I can never have a day (or a couple weeks) where I binge and eat to mask emotions. I must be perfect.

But I'm not perfect. I'm not. I'm also extremely new to intuitive eating. I've really only been doing this since January. That's only 4 shorts months. Not a whole lot of time to wipe out a lifetime of destructive eating behaviors.

I've known all along that I've been eating to avoid feeling something. I just wasn't ready to deal with it. So I ate. Then I despaired because I was eating poor. And down we went. Not too far, but not great either. My pain has been back, my headaches have returned full force, I'm not sleeping as well at night, and the fatigue has returned. But unlike my life 4 months ago, I know what is happening, and I know how to fix it.

That need for perfection has been freaking me out though. That all or nothing approach is dangerous. If I "screw up" just once during the day and eat when I'm not physically hungry I've felt like I can't keep going that day. I'll just have to start tomorrow. Dangerous train of thought.

So here's the conclusion that I've come up with: If you are like me and feel overwhelmed at times just slow it down. Break down your day and say, "for this one meal I'm going to listen." Nothing else matters. If you want to pig out after the meal, go for it, but for just that one meal listen. And be mindful. Notice how you feel. I'm willing to bet you'll like the way you feel. Then continue on to the next meal if you are ready. Just one baby step at a time.

I started doing this earlier this week and within only 3 days I want to take better care of myself. I've started exercising again because I want to (not because I feel obligated), and I'm eating healthier already. I've not fully recovered from my 2 weeks of ignoring my body, but I'll get there quickly. Our bodies are remarkable like that.

And maybe, just maybe, someone out there will be relieved to know that screwing up happens. Even to those of us who preach.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The work of self-discovery is never done, even when you look the same

When I hear the word "change" I automatically think "diapers." Oh, that's not what you had intended by picking that word this month, Mara? Well, in that case I guess the next thing that comes to mind is the following.

I love change. I think that puts me in the minority. Granted there are certain things I like to be consistent, but on the whole I'm a big fan of change. I rearrange my furniture regularly (much the the dismay of my husband who thinks I shouldn't move certain pieces of furniture (the pianos) on my own), I have looked forward to every move we have made, and I adore living somewhere with seasons just so we can constantly be in a state of change. I'm not good with routines, maybe that's why change is so attractive. It seduces me into thinking that around the next corner good things will come. And usually they do.

Personal change is a different story. I've spent a good chunk of my life trying to change who I am. I've never been very successful at it. I've tried to force myself into being an athlete, musician, artist, and fiction writer among other things. I've also tried to force my body to be a size that was unhealthy for me. I've often sought clothes, makeup, and other looks that were not comfortable for me either.

So I recently gave up trying to "change." Instead I was going to learn who exactly I was/am and learn to love that girl. I guess this in and of itself was a change. I needed to learn who this girl was that I've been living with for 27 years. But this sort of scared me too. No change anymore? Does that mean that I'll be exactly the same my whole life? I wasn't exactly a fan of the girl I was back in high school, does getting to know myself mean I'll be that girl the rest of my life?

How can a girl who loves change live without change?

I mean, aside from the recent weight gain I've pretty much looked the same my whole life. See:

The first one is lacking the handsome man, but has some pretty sweet bangs. Otherwise I've stayed pretty constant. The only thing that changes is my hair and weight. You can see how maybe I've been afraid that I'll just be the same as always. And what if I don't like the person I find?

I found this quote and love it:

"'People change and forget to tell each other,' Lillian Hellman once observed. Very often, however, it's the inner you who changes at the speed of light. Problems can arise when your authentic self and your conscious self don't communicate about the new direction you are moving in. And they probably aren't communicating if you're not using an introspective tool. . . It's no wonder if you feel confused and disoriented. Don't panic. This is a healthy sign of new growth." (Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach)

While I may look the same as I did when I was 10, 15, 20, and 25 I'm most definitely a different person. I guess I'm not going to be stuck in my role as a flirty, dramatic teenager the rest of my life (thank goodness).

I still think of my brother as the little kid he was when I left home. He was 11, scrawny, and shorter than me. Sometimes it surprises me to see him now. He's tall and built. His voice is deep. He has the most hilarious sense of humor. Oh yeah, and he's 20. He forgot to tell me that he changed over time. And sometimes I find myself wondering how it happened. I think the same thing happens with our own changes as we age. We forget to tell ourselves.

But this quote brings up another interesting point: We will change. If we take the time to get to know ourselves and think our work is done we are going to find ourselves at a disconnect at some point. Because we will never be the same. We change and evolve as we age. As a result it is our job to always be in touch with our inner desires.

I noticed this recently with me. I've always been the girl who needed mascara. I also like to wear brown eyeshadows. But I've found that I don't like the result as much as I used to when I do my my makeup the way I've always done it. Instead, I need to have my hair done. Even if I don't wear makeup, I like the way I look when my hair is done. Not so much a ponytail girl anymore (although I still do that plenty). When I do want makeup on I like to have a nice shimmer instead of the dark brown I used to wear. I've changed. And that's okay.

So I guess my point is this: We will change. Life is about change. Learn to accept and love yourself through (and maybe because) of the change. Keep in touch with your inner authentic self. She may surprise you with what she wants next.

This post was written as part of the Self-Discovery Series. Mara, from Medicinal Marzipan was the fantastic host of this month's word: change. Learn more on Medicinal Marzipan and check out Mara's post on change.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Moms can't be wimps

I've got a dumpster diving, fit throwing toddler on my hands. The last couple of weeks have been full of extremely dramatic meltdowns. At least he is old enough now that when he melts down he gingerly throws himself down so he doesn't cause any damage to his person anymore.

Oh, and the dumpster diving? Well, he loves digging in the trash. I struggle to keep him out. We spend a lot of time cleaning up garbage and washing hands around here.

The poor kid is teething. But even so, mom is getting a little tired of all the tantrums. It's hard to believe that something this cute is capable of such drama:

And probably for him it's a good thing he's that cute. I can't hold a grudge against that. Even after what happened yesterday. . .

Yesterday I was sitting at the piano playing the opening song for Family Home Evening. Cormac wanted to play (and was throwing a fit about it) so I put him on my lap after the song. He pounded for a little while and then I closed the piano. That didn't go over well. He threw a complete fit. He threw all of his not insubstantial weight against me and pushed off the piano, hard. And over we went. I bundled him up to keep him from hitting his head on anything. Ammon responded in time to catch my head before it hit the ground, but everything else made contact with the ground and the bench against the floor.

I can't bend my left knee without significant pain in the back of it right now. I ache all over. Man I'm getting old.

Why am I telling you this here on this blog? No idea. Maybe I just wanted to explain my lack of awesome posts yesterday and today. Maybe I just wanted some sympathy. Perhaps I wanted to write an ode to mothers. Maybe I wanted to tell my own mom that she's awesome (Mom, I'm so sorry if I ever threw a fit). Who knows.

Uh oh, I can see another meltdown coming, I suppose I should get going. Thanks for listening. Thank heaven they outgrow this. Right?. . . Right?

Motherhood. . . it's not for wimps, that's for sure.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Learning from my toddler

This morning I sat down at my computer to write a blog. I really didn't have anything specific in mind just yet. A few ideas here and there. I sat down to see if I could make something happen on the screen when my little one had a complete and total meltdown. Apparently, sitting on mommy's lap eating crackers and watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox while mommy blogged was just not going to cut it this morning. He needed mom's full attention. And honestly, I needed his as well. So we played. Had a good breakfast. Gave him a bath. And made funny faces. It was a wonderful morning.

I admire Cormac for his knowledge of exactly what he needs. This isn't always the case. And he isn't always able to communicate those needs, but he seems pretty direct. Some days he can play on his own. Others he needs more love and interaction. Some days he doesn't want to eat much, others he does. The poor little man is trying to grow in some molars right now. If you were growing molars you might just need some extra love from your mom too. He is just so in tune with his needs. 

It makes me wonder why and how we ever become detached. I got the following comment from my aunt yesterday (I have the most awesome aunts):

"I always love your blogs. You always make me think. I find it interesting that we don't have time to have our bodies get sick. Been there, done that! Who is this "we"? Our spirits? Perhaps the goal should be to get our spirits and bodies more in tune with each other. Then maybe we can heal faster. Great post!!" 

First off thanks for the compliments. It's good for my ego. But I know I'm not the only one that stays separate from my body in a sense. There is me, and then there's my body. Huh? Cormac isn't two, he is one. Shouldn't we all be one?

So often I don't pay attention to what I really need. I'm too busy doing this, that, or the other. Look at yesterday's post, for example. We've been BUSY around here. So busy that I haven't taken time for exercise or eating really well. I've just been going from one thing to the next. Trying to make sure that I spend some time with Cormac in between everything else.

Last night as I was teaching my first class in the new studio (!) I realized how much my body craves yoga. I needed to do it. It felt so so good to move. In the effort to get a studio I had left behind my personal practice. All the weeks of heavy work have made me sore. What better way to fix it than to do yoga.

Anyway, as I was thinking about things that our bodies crave I came across a fun post from Already Pretty, check it out. What does your body crave and need? Why not take some extra time this weekend to do something nice for your body. And enjoy the beautiful weather (if it is indeed beautiful where you are).

Just a little teaser. This is the back wall of the studio. We still have a lot of work to do, so stay tuned at a later date for before and after pictures.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Aches and pains: They do serve a purpose

"Bringing awareness to your body, to its unique reactions and processes, and to its symptoms and strengths, sets you up for growthful insights. For where you founder--precisely where your system begins to break down--provides a valuable clue to what needs to change in your life. Working from the perspective of this process of discovery permits you to approach a health crisis with curiosity instead of fear, and with optimism instead of disappointment. Sickness and health become a major way you learn from life. Although dysfunction and disease point to what you need to work on, they also hold the seeds of your unfoldment. From this point of view, illness is an opportunity for growth and transformation, while "recovery" is only a return to an obsolete status quo. Authentic healing will often involve radical changes in how you live. Old habits and attitudes that supported the development of disease will fall away, to be replaced by new ones that go with a new way of being in the world." (Radical Healing, Rudolph Ballentine, M.D. pg. 5)

Do you look at every health challenge as a way to transform your life? Do you see it as a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with your body?

I'll admit that I often don't do this. Lately I have been working by the side of my husband day in and day out trying to get my yoga studio in order. The last two weeks I have started to hurt. . . a lot. I suffer from Fibromyalgia, but lately more often than I am able to live a comfortable life with little to no pain most days. But I sure have been hurting the last two weeks.

Instead of listening to my body, and trying to figure out what in my life is causing this sudden flare up I have seen the aches and pains as a hinderance to my life. I mostly feel like I don't have time for this right now. My body needs to just deal on it's own. I have been pushing and pushing so much. With each new day I get a little more sore and a little more run down. But I just feel like I don't have time to stop.

So I was reading (I guess I haven't cut everything out of my life) Radical Healing the other day (yes I read random texts on healing in my spare time) and I came across the quote above. Huh. Then I had a friend ask for advice with her chronic problem. As I was telling her that it was a blessing for her to have this problem so that she could slow down and remember to take care of her own needs I realized that I wasn't taking my own advice.

Our bodies are truly remarkable things. They are capable of so much. But in our busy lives we often take them for granted. We push and push and push. Then when our bodies speak up, "Hey, remember me? You haven't had more than three glasses of water in 3 days. I'm thirsty!" we get annoyed. How dare our bodies get in our way. We have things to do. We do not have time for these sicknesses.

Rather than taking this attitude, our lives would be so much fuller if we were to actually tune in enough to care for our bodies when minor problems arise (and better yet, take care of them before anything arises). Our bodies would reward us by doing more, clueing us in on problems sooner, and by helping us live healthy and pain free every day.

Slow down enough to listen to your body. I'm going to try to do better. Though I still have plenty of work to do I'm going to start listening. My first step will be to address my sleepiness. Early bedtimes tonight and tomorrow. Then I'll reflect more on my food choices and make eating better meals a priority. Lastly exercise. Though I've been painting walls and working every day, I need to do something that makes me feel good instead of sore.

Those are my steps. What are you going to do? For more wonderful ideas on caring for your body look at Medicinal Marzipan. She had an amazing post this week on taking a vacation for our bodies.

Image source.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yoga Studio times and prices

If you are interested in attending a class (here in Lindon, UT) shoot me an email or drop me a comment and I'll get you the location information (I should have been a poet). Classes start tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Objectification: no longer gender specific

It seems I hit a nerve last Friday with my discussion of the objectification of women. We all know it happens. We are all tired of it. We all want it to stop.

But here is something that we maybe don't consider as often: objectifying bodies is not limited to women. Instead of getting rid of the problem of turing women into sex symbols the problem is spreading. Men are under increasing pressure to fit an ideal standard as well.

Women are generally pressured to be ridiculously thin. We are portrayed as weak, dependent, thin. Men on the other hand need to be strong, muscular, manly, capable. There is little room for men to be anything else. Varying body types are not looked on with favor in this idealized media world. Neither are varying interests. Men are supposed to be able to fix the sink with their shirt off. No room for a guy who likes to spend his afternoon tucked in a book instead, for example.

Don't really think it's happening in the media to men as well as women? Have you seen the Old Spice ads:

Don't get me wrong, I think this particular group of commercials is hilarious, as I'm sure many of you do, but behind the humor is the objectifying once more.

There has been a recent rise in men with eating disorders, and many more who have some disordered eating. In the United States it is estimated that there are 8 million people with an eating disorder. You may be surprised to know that at least 1 million of those are male and the number is on the rise (source). There is a lot of pressure for men to have a muscular body (a body that is not attainable for many). This pressure leads to the abuse of steroids and exercise.

When I was reading up on this I found an article with this quote:

"Those who felt their bodies didn't measure up to the ideal reported that they worked out so much that weight training interfered with other parts of their lives. They also took protein supplements, were likely to report eating disorder symptoms, and thought about using steroids to enhance muscle growth."

This is not just a problem for women anymore. Another article said this:

"A 2002 study by the University of Wisconsin suggests that this new focus on fit and muscled male bodies is causing men the same anxiety and personal insecurity that women have felt for decades."

We have moved into a whole new realm in the media world. A place where men and women are portrayed as always fitting into a specific stereotype. It allows no room for diversity in any way. And we are buying into it.

So here are my thoughts: This needs to stop. So when we are teaching our sons to respect all types of women, and we are teaching our daughters to own their beauty just as they are we need to make sure we are looking at both sides of the issues. Our sons don't have to be a specific body type either. Our daughters need to be taught to respect differences in men as well as women. Sons need to know that they are amazing, handsome, and talented even if they never become a lumberjack.

Image source
Old spice image source

Monday, April 11, 2011

Big Announcement: When dreams come true

About a month ago I got a crazy idea. Fortunately I have an amazing husband who was on board right away. But before anything could happen we had to clean out the chicken coop. Yes, we have a chicken coop. We have lived here for nearly 18 months. We have carefully avoided the chicken coop during the entire year and a half. It wasn't hard to avoid, this place was (is?) a fixer upper from the start. We have had to haul of truck load after truck load of junk. Since the coop was enclosed the mess within was easy to ignore. But in order for this idea of mine to come to fruition the coop had to be addressed.


But we got it cleaned out and began the work of moving all of my husband's shop into the newly clean coop. When we were looking at this property one of the big selling points was the amazing shop next to the house. Finally my husband would have a wood shop. Almost 900 square feet of shop (that's only slightly smaller than our last house). And now all he has to show for it is a chicken coop full of stuff. That's true love for you: the sacrifice of a wood shop for your wife's dream.

We have been working every night and free Saturday to get everything in order. And while we still have a lot (I mean a lot) of work to do, we are close enough that good things are going to start happening.

I guess I can't stall any longer. So without further ado let me announce the opening of:

We have turned that 900 square feet of prime real estate next to our house into a yoga studio! I've been wanting to teach since I was certified back in 2008. But apart from a few private lessons and a few group classes here and there I haven't been teaching much. And I so love to teach.

Classes will begin Thursday evening. And your first class is free, free, free, so if you're in the area (the Lindon, UT area) you should stop by. 

This is sort of a dream come true. I had convinced myself that I wasn't able to teach until my dress size was smaller, but as I have branched out and taught anyway I have found that I have been accepted without reservation. Having this little home studio is a bit of a leap of faith for me, but I'm thrilled to have a chance to share something I love so much with others.

A huge thanks to my husband for everything. He's amazing. I also need to thank my awesome sister for designing my logo. She's talented huh. Pictures of the transformed shop to studio will come soon. And if you want to come to a class let me know.

Friday, April 8, 2011

We are not objects of lust

With all the work my hubby and I have been doing lately we haven't had much time for a date night. So, last night we finally went out. We went to the Jazz basketball game. We had a marvelous time. But on the way home I started to vent. After declaring my disgust for the outfits worn by the women who participated I told my husband not to worry, my rant would probably be a blog post the next day. And thus:

My rant: A post in which I share my feelings about professional sports, women, and skimpy outfits.

So here's the deal. We get to the game and out come the cheerleaders. They are simply wearing a tiny, skimpy, flimsy little dress that covers basically nothing. Then they start to dance. The moves are very provocative. Then at half time this group came out to do some trick dunks. Included in the group were two females. While the men were wearing basketball shorts and t-shirts, the women were wearing bottoms that looked like a pair of very tight boy underwear. On top they had a sports bra. That's all. And the women didn't really dunk. Instead they did flips and splits while the men did the dunking (they were all jumping off of trampolines, so really, anyone could have dunked it). The purpose of all the women? To be a sex symbol. End of story.

Why are the women who get to participate in professional men's sports there only as sex objects?

Why aren't the women able to do fun trick dunks in a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt?

Why are the dance moves geared only to get the mind thinking about one thing?

I'm sorry, but I feel that these things are wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

Women have so much more to offer to the table than their bodies. And speaking of those bodies, their bodies don't have to be on display like that in order to be fantastic and amazing. Dancing, dunking, whatever the talents these ladies have they shouldn't need to be mostly naked in order for those talents to be appreciated.

And truly, are they being appreciated? No. They are being lusted after. I'm so disturbed by the trend in men's sports to make women into objects. Now I've been aware of this going on for years. But lately I've been surrounding myself with all kinds of body positive resources for women. So last night the contrast was extremely disturbing. I think my husband even thought it was ridiculous and a bit disgusting.

My intent was to get on here today and beg the women and girls that read this post to stop this pattern. Let's refuse to take part. I wanted to appeal to my readers to realize the worth of women beyond the physical.

But this morning as I got up and read some of the blogs I normally follow I was heartened. There really is a large community of people out there trying to take back the dignity in being a woman. And as I mentioned,  I have been so immersed in this community that I had almost forgotten the objectifying until last night.

And I realized that I may not be able to stop the tidal wave before me on a global level, but here in my little corner of the internet good things are happening. We are fighting back. And in my own home, that is where I have the most power to influence for good. You have that as well. Lets teach our sons to respect women. Then lets teach our daughters to be confident, strong, capable women who are more than their appearance.  We will change the world, one amazing girl at a time.

*Image source

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Forgiveness: the key to self-love and intuitive eating

Learning to love ourselves takes on many shapes and forms. For me, I had to give up my battle where food was concerned. I also had to grapple with the voice in my head constantly telling me I don't measure up (I'm an over achiever and am often way too hard on myself). But to be honest, those are only a couple ways where feelings of inadequacy plague us.

In fact, I believe that often times we don't even realize the fight going on is in fact a fight over self-acceptance and love.

For example, there are people out there who can eat whatever they want. They are strong and confident in their abilities. They don't have body shame. So in essence, it would appear that anything and everything said on a blog like LITM would not appeal to them. But I don't think this is always true. Self-love can still be difficult for people like this.

I have a dear friend who wrote to me recently. I hope she doesn't mind me talking about her:) She can fit into all of the categories up above. I just adore this woman. She is amazing. Her daily responsibilities are heavy, but she never complains. She takes them all on with happiness and does amazing things. However, she has developed a health condition that can often cause her great physical pain. Having lived most of her life being able to eat whatever she felt like (and taking great pleasure in doing so) she now has to deal with the idea that her health could be greatly improved by eating a specific diet. A very healthy diet. One that includes mostly plant foods and whole grains. A diet that does make her feel better when she eats it. But (there's always a but) it is difficult to adhere to this diet.

I have theory.

You see, as someone who has dealt with food issues most of her life I can say that we are very emotionally tied to the way we eat. Even my dear friend who has never had to adhere to a diet is emotionally attached to her food choices. That is why learning that she must change and take on a diet that feels restrictive is difficult for her.

On the outside, we could look at her situation and say it's not fair. If I preach that we should all throw out rules and become intuitive eaters how does that work for someone like her? She has rules.

The truth is, we all need to write our own code of what we eat. Our own Word of Wisdom, if you will. Making this code hard and fast is not helpful. Actually writing the code is not helpful, but we need to know and understand our bodies and their needs.

For me, I am borderline PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). That means that my body often craves sugar and simple carbs. But when I indulge in these foods I feel awful. But I crave them. As an intuitive eater I know that while I may be craving something it may not make me feel well. Being an intuitive eater doesn't necessarily mean we give in to all of our cravings. Rather, it means we tune in and understand our bodies well enough to know that our food choices affect how we feel. And then with that knowledge we can eat the foods that allow us to feel our best. And sometimes that means telling that sugar craving, "not now." But "not now" doesn't mean never either. Sometimes we can, will, and should go ahead and indulge in the craved food. But observe. Always observe.

Does this mean we have rules? Well. . . yes. . . and no. We understand our bodies. We understand what will make us feel well, and so it could be argued that there are "rules." But think of it more as a guide to what makes you run in optimum condition.

On the flip side, there are no rules. You really can eat whatever you want. Decide if eating whatever you want makes you feel great though. Really great.

I guess where I'm really going with this post, however, is here: You must forgive yourself.

Forgiveness is key.

For my friend, she very clearly knows foods that will help and foods that will harm her. But she needs to take the long journey of learning to become an intuitive eater. Yes, even people who have never had food rules can benefit from intuitive eating, as it involves tuning in with the body and learning to eat in a way that promotes excellent health. So while my friend has "rules" before her, she needs to stop trying to force herself to abide by those rules. Instead, learning to tune into her body and really loving and honoring her body will allow her to lovingly choose the foods that make her feel amazing. She won't need a set of rules.

BUT. . . she will screw up. I screw up. Everyone makes mistakes. When we start getting after ourselves for eating something that doesn't make us feel well we are no longer intuitive eaters. Rather, we have become dieters once more. There is no room for harsh judgement in intuitive eating. None. You must forgive yourself. Observe how you felt when you ate the offending food. Learn from that particular experience. Then you can choose if you would like to repeat that experience ever again.

So, loving our bodies takes many forms. It's not just for those who have struggled with food and body image issues. It's for everyone. And the key, in my opinion, is learning forgiveness.

*Image source

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Real power in responsibility

It seems to me that as a people we are no longer able to take responsibility for our own actions. If we are heavy then it must be the fault of fast food chains. If we are poor than it is a result of the government. If we have any kind of "issue" then it must be because of our parents.

How sad.

There is real power in taking responsibility upon ourselves. Now, don't get me wrong, in some cases it is true that others can cause our misery, but if we are truly honest with ourselves we would realize that we are extremely quick to place blame somewhere other than ourselves when sometimes it isn't really fair.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Solomon over at Nourishing the Soul wrote about the idea of making parents instrumental in the healing of eating disorders. Read this article, it's amazing.

Dr. Solomon points out that having parents help in healing is radical because "our society has readily adopted the notion that parents are the root of all of our problems and thus cannot be the source of our solutions." 

I think it is sad. During the Holidays magazines are riddled with articles about how to "survive your family" over the Holiday. There are so many movies on this theme as well. Really? Are the people that gave us birth, raised us, and loved us unconditionally even when we were teenagers really that bad? I would argue that with rare exception our parents have only ever wanted the best for us. They want us to be happy, successful, and healthy.

In the world of eating disorders new research is showing that parents largest contribution to the development with one is actually genetic. Which is something that frankly can't be helped.

Here's the thing folks, parents aren't perfect. But neither are you. And you won't be a perfect parent either. I certainly hope my own son is not as quick to blame his parents for any problems he encounters as many of the people I know. I know I'll never be a perfect mother, I know that I'll make plenty of mistakes, but I also know that no one could ever love my son the way I do. No one wants the best for him more than I do.

And I know the same is true of my parents for me and my siblings. My problems in life are not the fault of my parents, though they (like me) are not perfect.

In my own life I have tried hard to realize that perhaps no one is to blame. Maybe things are just how they are. Maybe my genetic makeup is such that I had low self-esteem growing up. I know it is certainly my own fault that I gained weight after the birth of my son. You should have seen the way I was eating. Blaming others, especially my parents, does nothing to help the situation. It keeps me from moving on and addressing the problem. And it could drive a wedge between me and those I blame. No, if we desire change and acceptance we need to stop placing blame and simply move on.

It can be scary to not place blame. It makes us vulnerable and at fault. But our vulnerability is also where we can learn to get to know ourselves better. Stop blaming and allow those who truly know and love you to be there for you. Because there is real power in taking responsibility upon ourselves.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Finding yourself in serving others

Last week I wrote about the importance of making our own needs a priority in our lives. I do believe in the power of caring for ourselves, but I feel like this advice should come with a warning:

There is danger in thinking of only ourselves.

Happiness does not come from being self-absorbed. In fact, I would argue that we are happiest when we serve others. But service doesn't have to mean never taking time for ourselves. And conversely, taking care of ourselves doesn't mean there will be no time for caring for others. Perhaps this quote sums it up best:

"The best way to find yourself is to 
lose yourself in the service of others."
~ Mohandas Gandhi

Taking time to care for ourselves allows us the energy and motivation to serve others. However, it can be consuming. When you feel like you must always put your own needs first and become self-absorbed the good you were doing by taking care of yourself dissolves and unhappiness will be the result.

This is where listening to our bodies comes in. Perhaps today all you need is a quick shower, a healthy breakfast, and then someone to serve. Tomorrow you may need to stay in your pjs all day reading a good book. As you learn to trust your body you will know how much energy you have for service. But know that service is contagious. At first you may be resistant, that's normal, but as you learn to care for others you will find joy.

In my own life, as a teenager I spent a lot of time serving. I can honestly say that I was happiest when I was in a nursing home visiting with people, or weeding someone's lawn who was in need, or cleaning the house before my mom got home from a trip. Service doesn't need to take all your time, but I can promise that you truly will find yourself and find complete happiness when you care for those around you.

Image Source.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Running Joke

I know I said I'd have an announcement today, but between our two different sets of guests and conference we just didn't get anything done this weekend. Thus, stay tuned next Monday for the big announcement.

I realize that most of my writing is on the serious side, and perhaps you wonder if I have a sense of humor. So I'd like to send you over to Run, Eat, Repeat where Monica is doing a new feature on Tuesdays called "A Running Joke." Last Tuesday I shared a running experience that I had that was rather comical. There are two other jokes shared as well that will tickle your funny bone. While you're there check out the rest of the site.

And while we are on the subject of humor, this is me. Reading and blow drying my hair. My husband thought it was funny. I like to double task, and I love to read. Anyway, Happy Monday.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm Blogging Elsewhere Today

I'm a guest over at The Closet Narcissists today. Please click over to check it out. You'll love the fun things on their site and I hope you'll even like today's post. Below you'll find a little teaser.

Listening to your heart is not simple. Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to get to know who you are and what you want. 
~Sue Bender

I have been on a journey to figure out who I truly am. Not only that, but to like that person. I'm a people liker. I get along with all types of people. I always have. Yet I have struggled for years to grant that same acceptance to myself. I have struggled to make myself into something I am not. For example:

This is a picture of my dear friend Lizzy (in white) and myself a few years ago. We were in Germany. We had Eurorail passes with a couple of other girls. We were all just 20, touring Europe, and having the time of our lives. Notice the way I am dressed. Notice the way Lizzy is dressed. I borrowed a long sleeve shirt from her and tied it around my waist, just like her. I also turned up my jeans, just the way Lizzy did. To give myself some credit, it was sometimes cold and having a long sleeve shirt to throw on at all times was nice, but this was not my style. I was only dressed like this because I desperately wanted to be Lizzy. I adore Lizzy. I always have. But learning that I don't have to be Lizzy, well that has been a different matter altogether.